Trends in Technology

Android 11 – A Guide to Google’s Latest Update

January 8, 2021 by Bamboo Duck
Read similar articles in: Smartphones

Android 11 – A Guide to Google’s Latest Update

Android 11 gears up to be a subtle but substantial update. The beta 2 update has been released with Google terming it “reaching platform stability.” This means that app developers can now adapt to the changes without risk of big surprises in the future.

Google has scrapped its operating systems letter naming tradition. Accordingly, the new update is not called Q; it’s Android 11. Let’s look at the offerings of 2020’s Android update.


With this update, Google focuses on users and their experiences. We’ve all encountered the clutter and confusion in the notifications bar. In response, Google implements a Conversations tab in the notifications drop-down to organize messaging app notifications from your contacts.

This Conversations tab sits above the alert and silent notifications tabs from previous years’ formula. It greatly eases users’ experience of getting to notifications and prioritizing them. Aside from its accessibility, the Conversations tab allows you to see more of the thread and even offers convenient ways to compose a message, such as sending pictures right from the notification.

Android 11 also features platform-wide Chat Bubbles. When you receive a message through any regular messaging app, it appears as a floating bubble, similar to Facebook Messenger’s chat heads. The feature is both nice and welcome as a functionality for other heavily-used apps like WhatsApp.

You also have the option to choose Priority Conversations by marking those frequent contacts. As a result, their messages cut through the ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode and always prompt you.

Additional changes have even been made to the visual interface of the notifications. Now there is added transparency and gradient, giving the display more panache.


Next, Android 11 features Screen Recording, which includes audio options from the device or the microphone. This feature was previously available in other Android phones like OnePlus 8 and 7T, and the iPhone.

Google has also added another visual update known as the App Suggestions in the dock. to Android 11.When you first set up Android 11, a popup asks you if you want to use Google’s auto-generated app dock. Instead of choosing 4 or 5 apps to add to the bottom of your home screens, Google populates with those that you are likely to access at that time of day. This slightly controversial feature offers an opt-out option.


A considerable overhaul of media is evident with Google’s decision to show media playing on your phone in the quick setting menu. Android 11 adds a widget in the quick settings drop-down area, which is color-matched to the background of the album art. This works with almost any media app, including YouTube. However,there are still iterations needed for the picture-in-picture apps. The nice, ripple animation whenever you tap the play/pause or forward/back buttons is an added bonus.

There are also 5G status bar icons now and a contextually-aware dark mode. The latter is bound to be a hit as it allows users to customize their system-wide dark mode according to a schedule.

You can also see your notification history in the settings tab to help keep track of any unintentionally dismissed notifications. In fact, improved Live captions are contextually-aware of what is on the screen. This ensures more accurate and reliable captioning.

Android 11 showcases a modified wallpaper picker and the removing of the clock customization option. The recent apps screen also features a screenshot/share option instead of quick app suggestions. Plus, the cards are bigger. What’s more, you can now select text or images from the app thumbnail card. Furthermore, you can retrieve a card that was unintentionally removed by swiping down.

You can even specify the back gesture’s exact sensitivity to minimize issues.


Android 11 features a major new voice accessibility feature. Now you can simply use your voice to control your phone. You can do anything with your phone, which assigns numbers to elements on the screen. For instance, you can say “four” to open Reddit, which is on ‘4’. You can also say things like “Spotify” to open the popular song-streaming app.

The power button now brings variety, including Google Wallet cards and smart home options. Aside from turning off or restarting your phone, this area allows you to make quick payments or adjust your temperature or lights at home.

Users can now also increase touch sensitivity to help with screen protectors and missed taps or scrolls. Thankfully, airplane mode no longer kills Bluetooth, which is a common-sense feature that should’ve come already.


Google also revamped its privacy settings. Apps now have one-time permission access.  This adds a layer of security while using the app. Apart from this, unused apps will be auto-revoked, or permissions are disallowed for inactive apps beyond certain time frame of use. Additionally, background location services need given manual permission. All these features help ensure users’ privacy and and protection from suspicious app activity or invasion of privacy.

In all, the Android 11 update offers a list of welcome features. With the maturity of Google’s operating system, we don’t expect especially drastic changes for a spell. It is worth recognizing that these subtle are crucial to maintain a more feature-rich, intuitive, and user-centric Android ecosystem.

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